The 2017 Dirty Dozen List has been published by the EWG ( Environmental Working Group). They release this list every year. If you don’t already know that certain fruits and vegetables contain more pesticides by weight than they ought to for your health – let’s investigate. 

The 2017 Dirty Dozen list helps you decide which fruits and vegetables you are going to swap conventionally grown produce for organic produce. It also lists the clean 15 list that shows you which ones are less risky. If you are on a budget, then using this list will help you determine where to spend your money.

The list is meant to rank (non-organic) produce in terms of the amount of pesticide residue it carries. The fruit that comes out tops on the 2017 dirty dozen list for the second year in a row, is one of the most frequently eaten fruits by children. It is a top favorite: strawberries. A single strawberry sample harbored 20 different pesticide residues. This is really scary. Don’t be fooled by the pile of bright red berries at the entrance to the supermarket. Seek out the organic version which is more expensive but safer for your family.

This year the annual report found that almost 70% of 48 non-organic fruits and vegetables tested positive for at least one pesticide.

The agency also included this year a Clean 15 list. This is a list of 15 fruits and vegetables that are less risky with regards pesticides. Please know that this does not cover GM (genetically modified) foods so even though it is on the safe list here, it may still be GM and we don’t recommend you eat any GM foods.
One of the vegetables that we were dismayed to see on the Dirty Dozen list is spinach because we encourage you to eat spinach. So now it must be organic spinach. In fact, when I have eaten conventional spinach, I can smell and taste the pesticides! Spinach had twice as much pesticide residues by weight than any other crop. Scary, right?

The 2017 Dirty Dozen List

Here is the Dirty Dozen:

  1. Strawberries
  2. Spinach
  3. Nectarines
  4. Apples
  5. Peaches
  6. Pears
  7. Cherries
  8. Grapes
  9. Celery
  10. Tomatoes
  11. Sweet Bell Peppers
  12. Potatoes

The Clean Fifteen

And here is the Clean Fifteen:

  1. Sweet Corn
  2. Avocadoes
  3. Pineapples
  4. Cabbage
  5. Onions
  6. Sweet Peas frozen
  7. Papayas
  8. Asparagus
  9. Mangos
  10. Eggplant
  11. Honeydew melon
  12. Kiwi
  13. Cantaloupe
  14. Cauliflower
  15. Grapefruit

Why are we worried about pesticides?

Because pesticides can cause all sorts of problems with your health.  Now to be fair, the EWG doesn’t say whether any of these foods actually carry a risk to our health but there are thousands of research studies showing the impact pesticides are having on our health. Some of the issues involve xeno-estrogens and hormone disruption. This can cause infertility and estrogen dominant cancer.  Various diseases have been linked back to environmental toxins including pesticides. Diseases including Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, ADHD, autism and various cancers.

In summary

Purchase as many organic fruits and vegetables as you can afford.  And we still recommend that if you can’t afford organic produce, eating these fruits and vegetables produced conventionally is better than none.  Just washing your produce will not remove all the pesticides from the product.  They are embedded in the cellular structure of the plants.

Dirty Dozen 2017 at Kelway HealthAt least only purchase organic fruits and vegetables for the dirty dozen. If you are pregnant you must take added precautions.  And if you have children, please do not feed them conventional produce from the dirty dozen list.





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